Fresh. Fast. Fun.
El Paso’s newest sushi eatery, Sushiing Japanese Restaurant, stands out for one particular reason: a conveyor belt.
The idea is simple and effective. A metal conveyor chain surrounds the main food preparation area and carries the dishes around immediately after they’re prepared.
The conveyor is lined with booths where patrons can sit and grab whatever they want off the belt and immediately start eating.
The idea has been around in Japan since the late 1950s and is popular in coastal parts of the United States.
To longtime sushi entrepreneur Sean Han, this was an opportunity to bring his passion to El Paso and make a business of it, opening the Japanese restaurant at 8855 Viscount a few months ago.
“I moved to El Paso last year, but I’ve been in the conveyor belt sushi business for many years on the West Coast,” he said.
“I used to own multiple locations in the Seattle and Portland area. They’re really, really popular there. When I came to El Paso, I saw a lot of growth here – a lot of sushi restaurants – but I didn’t see a conveyor belt restaurant. So I decided to open one up in El Paso.”
Han says the conveyor belt setup is convenient in an industry not known for its quickness.
“This is a one-of-a-kind concept, because as soon as you sit at the table, you can grab something and satisfy your hunger,” he said.
“If you have a short lunch break, it’s perfect because you can eat and head back out in no time,” Han added.
When it comes to Sushiing’s specialties, Han recommends the Mexican roll – a “secret” dish not yet on the official menu (but popular through word-of-mouth), comprised of shrimp tempura with cucumber topped with salmon and siracha sauce for extra spice.
“Our customers love it and it’s one of our most requested dishes, even though it’s a little bit spicy for me,” he says with a laugh.
Han also recommends two of his personal favorite dishes: seared salmon, which is two pieces of salmon coated with a special sauce and torched on one side; and a widespread sushi staple provocatively called “Monkey Brain,” which consists of a halved, cooked avocado, filled with spicy tuna and topped with fish eggs.
Plates are priced at flat tiers of $1.95, $2.95, $3.95, $4.95, or $5.95, which may prevent that feeling you get when you look at a menu and realize that the food may even be out of Jeff Bezos’ price range.